Greg Beaver has this new post today on his blog with a look at even more of the great leaps forward that PEAR is making - especially with the PEAR.phar packaging.
Those of you who have followed my blog may remember a proof-of-concept PEAR.phar single file version of PEAR introduced back in April. This PEAR.phar was a bit clunky, and had trouble on linux, as well as with installation on most systems.
These considerations led me to rethink the format of .phar files. Due to Thanksgiving holiday here in the US, I haven't yet been able to contact Davey to get his feedback, so these are strictly my own observations and ideas. I have been able to rework the format of PHP_Archive-based .phar files, and to my great delight, accessing internal files is now a O(1) operation, with only a slight increase in memory usage per-phar.
Basically, the doanload page and snag your copy...also, keep an eye out for PHP_Archive 0.7.0. If all goes well, it should be just around the corner.